SPE Journal

SPE’s peer review process provides invaluable constructive feedback from experts in your field, allowing you to make a good paper even better.

How does the peer-review process work?

Authors are encouraged to submit technical papers for publication in SPE Journal. We welcome both conference papers and papers submitted directly for review.

After submitting your paper, SPE Journal’s editors will identify technical reviewers who will evaluate your paper's criteria for publication and provide constructive feedback. It usually takes 30 days for the paper's decision to be rendered to the author, which we believe to be a reasonable timeframe for providing a thorough and fair evaluation. While it is our goal to always meet this standard, SPE's Editorial Review Structure is comprised wholly of volunteers from industry and academia, and as such, there may be occasions when a paper's review time is extended.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Editorial Boards

Getting Started

Download and review our Manuscript Template to expedite processing of your paper.

Is my paper a good candidate for peer review?

SPE’s high standards can make peer review a rigorous process for an author. Our technical reviewers will evaluate the extent to which your paper meets our criteria for publication and provide constructive feedback on how the paper could be improved. You may be asked to revise your paper and resubmit it for further review. To be accepted for publication in a journal, a paper must meet the following criteria:

  • If your material has been published before or is currently being reviewed by another organization, it is not eligible for peer review.
  • Authors must be able to transfer copyright of the published article to SPE if the paper is accepted for publication.
  • It should present new knowledge or technology, or analyze previously known facts in a new way.
  • A review paper is appropriate if it finds connections between previously unrelated facts or commonality between previously uncompiled facts and results, or makes deductions that give the reader substantiated guidance on the accuracy and applicability of the reviewed analyses.

  • The paper is relevant to the technical scope of the journal and to the professional interests and activities of its audience.
  • Ideally it should present knowledge or technology that has the potential to help readers in their professional work as practicing engineers.

  • It should be logically sound, and it should give sufficient detail to allow the reader to replicate the work it describes and to assess its applicability to other environments.
  • The research design, methods, and analyses are adequately defined and clearly described, well-integrated, well-reasoned, and appropriate to the aims of the project.
  • Statistical tests are appropriate and the assumptions underlying the use of statistics are fulfilled by the data.
  • The statistics are reported correctly and appropriately.

  • It should present clearly and concisely in SPE’s standard format all relevant data and information to support the conclusions and to indicate their limitations.
  • The text is well written and easy to follow.
  • The introduction builds a logical case and context for the problem statement.
  • The problem statement is clear and well-articulated.
  • Tables, graphs, and figures are used effectively and agree with the text.
  • The amount of data presented is sufficient and appropriate.
  • Results are presented effectively; the interpretations of the results are appropriate and the conclusions accurate.
  • The conclusions are clearly stated and follow from the design, methods, and results; the justification of conclusions is well articulated.
  • The study limitations are discussed.
  • Statistical differences are distinguished from meaningful differences.
  • Practical significance or theoretical implications are discussed.
  • Reference citations are complete, accurate, and up to date. The number of references is appropriate, and their selection is judicious.
  • If the authors are not native English speakers, they have had the manuscript reviewed by an English-speaking colleague for accuracy of grammar and usage.

  • Substantial portions of the data or study should not have been published previously.
  • There are no instances of plagiarism—the ideas and materials of others are correctly attributed.
  • There are no commercial references.

Technical papers should be no more than 10,000 words, including the abstract, main text, tables, figure captions, and appendices (but not including the title, affiliations, acknowledgments, nomenclature, or references). In addition, a maximum of 20 figures that are sized half-page or smaller (full-page figures will be counted as two figures) will be allowed. We encourage authors to run a word count check before submission to avoid processing delays. Papers that exceed the length limit will be returned by SPE staff with a request to shorten the manuscript before the paper will be submitted for peer review. We also encourage authors to use the Supplementary Materials template (available in Author Resources) for additional data, figures, and tables that support the main paper. Supplements submitted with the paper for review will be later published with the accepted paper.

Review Papers do not have a length limit.

Does your institution require open access publication? As of 1 January 2022, authors submitting to SPE Journal may choose to pay an article publication charge (APC) of US$2,500.00 for Open Access. SPE members receive a US$500.00 discount on the APC (US$2000.00). Authors from low and lower-middle income economies (Group A and B; based on Research4Life’s classifications) will receive a 50% discount (US$1250.00). This cannot be combined with the SPE member discount. Payment is required after acceptance of the article for publication and must be received prior to online publication.

Open Access articles will be published under a Creative Commons license term (CC-BY). In order to make clear the separation between scientific editorial decision-making and economic considerations, the option to publish an article under Open Access is offered to corresponding authors after peer-review and acceptance of an article for publication.

If you would like your accepted paper to be Open Access, please contact peer@spe.org for information and payment processing.

Writing tips and suggestions

This 9-minute video will explain why you should write and submit a technical paper and offer tips for content and formatting.

English Language Assistance

SPE is pleased to offer a 20% discount to member authors seeking language editing services from Editage. Non-member authors can also receive a 10% discount for the services offered. Use the links below to learn more about our discounted editing services partnership.  

Several other language editing organizations also offer services designed to improve the quality of English in papers submitted for peer review. SPE is not affiliated in any way with these organizations. Links to them are offered as a service only.

Journal Coverage

SPE Journal has seven sections for peer-reviewed content. Take a look at each section description to see which one will be the best fit for your paper. 

Data Science and Engineering Analytics icon

Data Science & Engineering Analytics

Covers data science and engineering analytics (DSEA) topics from all SPE technical disciplines that involve understanding and making effective use of data and digital solutions in petroleum engineering. DSEA, including data analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, pattern recognition, natural language understanding, and big data, focuses on applications, case studies, computational and other tools such as data acquisition, storage, retrieval, sharing, analysis, optimization, and visualization for better decision making, collaboration, safety, sustainability, return on investment, and value creation.

Drilling icon
Completions icon

Drilling & Completion

Covers all components of drilling and completion activities from well design to abandonment phase for both conventional and unconventional operations, including well integrity and data analytics. 

Reservoir icon

Formation Evaluation

Covers the fields of Formation Evaluation and Petrophysics including both fundamental research on characterization of porous media from molecular- to reservoir-scale domains as well as practical applications. The publications under this section comprise a wide range of topics including but not limited to petrophysics, rock physics, multi-phase and compositional fluid transport in porous media, mechanical/elastic properties of rocks, conventional, advanced, and innovative core laboratory analysis, borehole geophysical measurements, well logging, well navigation and geosteering, formation testing, well testing, borehole fluid monitoring and production assessment systems, subsurface measurement methods, intelligent borehole and formation time-lapse monitoring systems, outcrop measurements, integration and interpretation of in-situ rock measurements, resource and reserve evaluation, geology, geophysics, carbon dioxide and hydrogen storage, and evaluation of geothermal systems.

Production and Operations icon

Production & Operations

Covers fundamental research into and field applications of production operations, artificial lift, downhole equipment, formation damage control, multiphase flow, workovers, stimulation, facility design and operations, water treatment, project management, construction methods and equipment, and related perfluorocarbon systems and emerging technologies. In addition, subsurface renewable energy and CO2 and hydrogen transport, and injection are included.

Reservoir icon

Reservoir Engineering

Covers the broad field of reservoir engineering from both fundamental research and practical application perspectives. The wide range of reservoir topics include: waterflooding, reservoir management, reservoir monitoring & surveillance, improved/enhanced recovery, SCAL studies, unconventional resources, flow through porous media, performance prediction, reservoir simulation & modeling, heavy oil, phase behavior, reservoir aspects of CO2 and hydrogen storage, geothermal energy, reserves evaluation, and uncertainty/risk assessment.

Special Topics icon

Special Topics in Petroleum Engineering

Covers solutions that are unique to the oil and gas industry but do not fit in typical petroleum engineering categories. The topics include but are not limited to innovative research and application of technologies adopted from other industries, multidisciplinary topics, management, and decision analysis.

HSE icon

Sustainability & Energy Transition

Covers fundamental research and applications related to environmental sustainability and emerging energy resources not covered in other sections. Examples include environmental aspects of produced water disposal, mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, and topics related to health, safety, and sustainability. 

Presenting at a conference?

If you are planning to present your paper at an SPE conference, you will have the option to submit your paper for peer review after the conference. Conference papers may be submitted as-is — there is no need to modify the format of your submission, but please consider any feedback received from the conference presentation.

You Will Need

Once you have completed your paper, you will need each co-author’s name, email address, company/institution, city, state, and country.

Note: Each co-author must have a unique email address.

Online Submission Link

SPE uses an online peer-review system that is completely web-based, and designed for manuscript submission, review, and tracking from beginning to final editorial decisions. The system links authors, reviewers, and SPE staff into one workspace and offers authors and reviewers convenient access to manuscript information.


Appeals Process for Declined Peer-Reviewed Papers

The author has 90 days from the date of the decline letter to file an appeal. The author should send a letter to peer@spe.org outlining in detail why the paper merits publication and responding to all reviewer comments provided in the decline letter. The Executive Editor will review the appeal to determine whether the author’s rebuttal is compelling and to be assured that the reviewers acted impartially in their review. If the Executive Editor believes that the appeal is without merit and that the decline decision should stand, then the decline recommendation, along with the paper’s original review details, will be forwarded to the Editor-in-Chief for a final decision.

Peer-Reviewed Journals Appeals Policy (pdf)

'A Peer Apart' Award

SPE created A Peer Apart in 2007 to recognize dedicated individuals who have been involved in the peer review of 100 or more papers. Learn more and see winners.

View other SPE Publications Awards.